Leading this charge is Asteroom, a leader in artificial intelligence-powered 3D home tours and doll houses. Founded in 2018 by Eric Tsai and Jennifer Li, the company has been gaining traction with top brokerages and agents across the country.
Before the journey of Asteroom started, Tsai was a core member on Facebook’s SMB Ads Analytics Team. During this time, as a data scientist in the organization, he gathered in-depth knowledge on SMB ads spending, and business needs to provide in-product recommendations to help them improve ad performance. He was particularly intrigued by Real Estate—one of the many SMB verticals that advertised on Facebook. Tsai was amazed by the wide spectrum of real estate professionals and how marketing presence was the major differentiator for their business.
As they dug deeper into Real Estate Marketing, Tsai came to recognize the increasing popularity of 3D home tours — which generated high engagement and visibility for the agents. But while the demand for these dynamic new ways of marketing and viewing homes was increasing, there was no viable solution for most agents. In fact, the primary solutions on the market were 3D cameras that were over $5000 USD. It was clear that price was a strong barrier to entry; only top producing realtors were able to afford it while the rest saw virtual tours as something exclusive to luxury-properties.
Tsai realized that most realtors in the market were unable to afford 3D tours to ramp-up their businesses because of the budget constraints. This thought led to the foundation of Asteroom in 2018. Today, the company is dedicated to providing virtual tour solution as good as 3D cameras at a much lower cost. “Why would agents spend $5000 on a proprietary 3D camera, when they already have $1000 one in their pocket? Asteroom enables everyone to make a 3D virtual tour of houses with a Doll-house view,” says Tsai.
Tsai further emphasizes, “Our mission is to drive mass-market adoption of Asteroom in residential real estate so every realtor can provide virtual tours to level the playing field.”
Notably, the team has been able to leverage its deep roots in artificial intelligence to provide a superior solution.
Throwing light on the current real estate market, Tsai explains, “There are over 20 different companies working on virtual tours right now, but Asteroom is the only company that can turn 360 images into a 3D Dollhouse with the help of AI.”
3D dollhouse not only helps buyers see the layout of the homes, but it also helps seller agents build up their tech-forward branding. After all, home sellers are hiring agents to help sell their homes because they want help in marketing, so it is very critical for the agents to demonstrate that they can use the most advanced marketing technology. Agents can take the Asteroom tours that they had done in the past to the listing appointments, and oftentimes the virtual tours are what help them win the listings. As social media is a crucial platform for agents who spend a lot of time building their brands, Asteroom has sought to provide advanced social marketing solutions. The newly launched social teaser video takes viewers into the dollhouse so that they can experience the property virtually natively on the social platform.
Why would agents spend $5000 on a proprietary 3D camera, when they already have $1000 one in their pocket. Asteroom enables everyone to make a 3D virtual tour of houses with a Doll-house view
The ease of use is a key component to Asterooms wide adoption. To begin with, the agent has to attach Asteroom’s Pano Kit on their phone to take 360-degree panoramas of the property with the phone’s camera lens. All that is required is to use the rotator to get the phone to take a 360 image in a room. If each room has one photo, then a 3000 sqft home needs about 12 to 15 Panos, and the whole process gets done in 15 minutes. Once the Panos are taken, they can be uploaded, and the rest will be taken care of by Asteroom’s AI that stitches the Panos into a 3D dollhouse. A job of an hour or more can be done within 15 minutes with the help of Asteroom’s 360 to 3D technology.
Another unique feature that Asteroom has is its professional tour editing service for agents who want their tours to look very bright and professionally done. “We understand that not every agent has the time to learn professional editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom, so we want to help them with their post-production.”
Chase Burton, an agent at Keller Williams Realty, Texas, has been successfully incorporating 3D virtual tours into his real estate practice. Burton has been getting more listings yet hosting fewer open houses and spending less time on the properties thanks to the virtual tours. “When a buyer wants to see the home, before meeting him at the property, I send him the tour first to make sure he has seen it,” he says.
“Asteroom is much faster and more affordable to use, but just like any other technology on the market, you have to know how to leverage it in incorporate it into the bigger picture,” Burton explains
With such success stories in the quiver, the future of Asteroom looks bright. For the road ahead, the company intends to make the solution more than just “tours.” Tsai explained, “By offering the affordable and easy to use virtual tour maker is just the first step, we are trying to create a deeper relationship between real estate agents and the home buyers. We aim to be the leader and join bigwigs of the industry such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Redfin and Trulia.”